Beer Blogging - Stone 11th Anniversary Ale
The pour: this is a deep black ale that reveals some red and brown when held up to a light. There's a tan, foamy head on top that fades to lace on the glass and the top of the beer within a couple of minutes. I poured it into a Belgian goblet glass because I remember it having a complex aroma that I think will be important to the taste.
The aroma: very complex, in fact. It manages to be fruity and smoky at the same time, which is interesting. The smoky comes from roasted barley, while the fruits are fairly light (pineapple, mango, lemon). There's also a hint of pine.
The taste: actually a lot like it smells. The roasted barley presents itself right out front, followed by a bitter lemon zest flavor. There's a nice progression from those flavors into the sweet, fruity ones. Again, the light fruits dominate here, but there are also darker, deeper fruit flavors (maybe raisins or plums; I can't quite place it). The aftertaste gets back to smoky, with a taste that's a lot like the last sip of a double espresso that had a bunch of sugar in it. I can't taste any alcohol (ABV: 8.7%), and there's a good amount of carbonation that keeps the mouthfeel from being too thick. What it all adds up to is an incredibly drinkable beer that really proves how good the folks at Stone are at their craft.
The rating: 10/10. I'm drinking this on a sunny day in Southern California (85° F), and I have to say, this makes for a great summer beer. Despite its color and big flavors, it's strangely refreshing in addition to being very tasty. Stone hit a home run with this one, and I really hope they're not planning for this to be a one-off (although I suspect they are). I would absolutely buy a case of this if they released it again.